University of Virginia Suspends All Fraternities For Nanosecond In Wake of Rape Scandal

UVA president Teresa Sullivan has suspended fraternities for a few days in the wake of a major sexual assault scandal. School will be out of session most of the suspension.

Rolling Stone (“UVA Suspends Fraternities Following Rolling Stone Campus Rape Investigation“):

Following Rolling Stone publishing Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s harrowing report “A Rape on Campus,” which detailed a pattern of sexual assault among the fraternities at the University of Virginia, many women who attended UVA emailed Rolling Stone sharing their own similar stories. After “A Rape on Campus” went viral, the school itself acknowledged the Rolling Stone article by promising to make changes to their student sexual misconduct policy. Now, the University is taking even more stern action.

President Teresa A. Sullivan announced in a letter to students and alumni that the school’s fraternities have been suspended effective immediately. The suspension will last until January 9, 2015, which marks the beginning of the spring semester. In that time, “we will assemble groups of students, faculty, alumni, and other concerned parties to discuss our next steps in preventing sexual assault and sexual violence on Grounds,” Sullivan writes.

“The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community. Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities,” Sullivan continues.

“As you are aware, I have asked the Charlottesville Police Department to investigate the 2012 assault that is described in Rolling Stone. There are individuals in our community who know what happened that night, and I am calling on them to come forward to the police to report the facts. Only you can shed light on the truth, and it is your responsibility to do so.”

 

Note that Tuesday is the class day of classes before the Thanksgiving recess. Classes resume Monday, December 1, and end Friday, December 5, followed by a final examination period. So, essentially, this is a six-day suspension. Apparently, Sullivan consulted with Roger Goodell.

FILED UNDER: Education, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    I’m a college Greek from 35 years ago. It horrifies me what some college fraternities are doing at parties these days and the way they talk about and treat women. Also, it’s an open secret that underage drinking goes on in Greek houses, but school administrators turn a blind eye to it and nothing is done to clamp down on the alcohol abuse (in hazing and parties). The blame is there to share all around on today’s college campuses.

  2. Brett says:

    The underage drinking at frat houses is particularly problematic because freshman girls are disproportionately likely to get raped on college – there’s even a term for it IIRC. That’s something the police could come down on hard if they wanted to (with the college following up by suspending anyone arrested for providing drinks to minors at a frat party), but they don’t.

    So, essentially, this is a six-day suspension. Apparently, Sullivan consulted with Roger Goodell.

    Yep. UVA has known about this story for weeks before it was published, too, so they’ve had plenty of time to plan for a competent response that wasn’t just a light symbolic gesture.

    I really hope they get hit hard by the Title IX investigation.

  3. Keith says:

    Brett is absolutely right. The police could walk into any party at any frathouse on any Saturday night and start writing citations for underage drinking and the university could impose real penalties for houses that are caught with underage drinkers. These houses seem just sort of bars anyway.

    But I would also like to see vigorous prosecutions for these rapists. At freshman orientation, maybe women need to know how important a rape kit is to prosecution. This social pressure not to report such things is obscene…these rapists need to be in jail, plain and simple.

    As someone who went to a school without a “Greek life” I don’t fully understand why these organizations are allowed to exist with the University’s sanction. I don’t think you can stop a bunch of 18 year olds from living together, but you can refuse to allow them to be part of your university.

  4. James Joyner says:

    @Keith: Your whole school is a fraternal organization, so it would have been redundant. Greek life wasn’t for me but lots of highly successful people consider it a centerpiece of their college experience. Indeed, aside from ROTC and the like, I’d guess sports and Greek affiliation are the key experiences that keep long-term bonds between alumni and their schools.

  5. KM says:

    @James:

    keep long-term bonds between alumni and their schools.

    And why is that even important, pray tell? Why do you need to “bond” with your school? Did you bond with your elementary school, your pre-K? Why not, you’re an alumni of there as well! You either liked it or you didn’t – if you liked your school for an non-school related event like fraternities or sports, then it wasn’t the quality education that really sold you on them in the first place. I like my alumna mater but that’s because it helped me learn something, not because of Greek Row.

    It’s for the money, plain and simple. You encourage brand loyalty in order to get repeat customers and their sweet, sweet green. And if that loyalty is strong enough, it will help overlook those little peccadilloes that damage reputations and cause outsiders to think twice – like safety failures/recalls for cars…. or repeated rape accusations in frats. It’s all about the green.

  6. Barry says:

    One thing to emphasize – U Va will expel people for plagiarism and cheating, after going through a student ‘court’ system. They will not expel people for rape, because they think that if the rapist admits that, then they’ve learned their lesson.